Migrants are returning to the northern French town of Calais just months after its infamous camp was demolished and thousands of residents moved elsewhere.
The new arrivals are being encouraged to come by charities offering them food and sleeping bags, causing consternation among the town’s residents, the Daily Mail reports.
Hundreds of people are now sleeping rough in the countryside around the town, hoping to travel across the English Channel to the UK, with more arriving each week.
The paper quotes one of the migrants, 18-year-old Eritrean Gaitom Hatas, as saying they could not stay there if it were not for the charities.
“We came from Libya on a boat to Italy in February, then got a bus via Paris to Calais. Every day and night we try to get to England,” he said. “I have relatives in Liverpool and they expect I will arrive there soon.”
“We couldn’t stay here without help,” Gaitom added. “The police try to throw us out, so we hide most of the time. We use text messages to arrange a time and place to meet the charity people for our food.”
Christine Salome, head of the L’Auberge des Migrants charity, said: “I think numbers in Calais have now reached 400 but more arrive all the time.
“Many are sleeping rough not far from the former Jungle. We give out a lot of sleeping bags. We take their used ones back after two or three nights because they are so damp and dirty. We wash them and hand them fresh ones.”
The claims come just days after the nearby Grande-Synthe migrant camp was burned to the ground in a turf war between people smuggling gangs. Around 600 of the camp’s residents are still missing, with many in Calais fearing they will join those gathered in the Calais area.
The massive former camp at the northern French town housed several thousand residents when it was dismantled late last year.